Archive for the ‘one post a day’ Category

Analytics for the Admissions Website

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

A university or college admissions site is not only where you’d apply (online), but also where you’ll find essential information like how to transfer credits, tuition, and much more.

Although the admissions website, obviously, has different goals than does the helpdesk website, some of the same analysis can apply as you’ll see later.

Analytics for the Helpdesk

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The college or university helpdesk is probably one of the most important sites for current students. What user behaviors should you track to make sure your helpdesk site is useful?

For the purpose of this post, I’m assuming that your helpdesk site has either no analytics tool installed or, if it does, you are currently not doing anything with the data.

So, let’s get started.

Let’s say your helpdesk site includes:

  1. tutorials or instructions for using university systems
  2. an alert system
  3. a ticketing system for users to enter issues
  4. FAQs/knowledge-base

There are many more aspects to any university helpdesk site, but let’s use these four to start.

Week Two – What’s on the Agenda?

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Each day this week, as part of the August post a day series, I will break down a specific type of higher education website and show how web analytics can help those specific site types.

My goal is to get very specific with each site type and show some specific reports and analysis that can help.

As you can see, post will be a short as I will just lay out my agenda for the week.

  1. Tuesday, August 12 – The Helpdesk Website
  2. Wednesday, August 13 – The Admissions Website
  3. Thursday, August 14 – Intranets
  4. Friday, August 15 – Summary

I hope you find the posts this week helpful.

Keeping it Simple

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

The topic of my post today was going to be about analtyics metrics (visits, unique visits, page views) and what those terms actually mean.

My thoughts changed, though, as I was reading through the posts of the day. Anne Peterson wrote a great post about usability and how sometimes it’s just impossible to test for every possible type of user.

We run into this quite frequently in World Campus because our user demographics vary so much. Anne mentions to keep it simple with usability testing and I completely agree. I might go even further and say keep it simple when it comes to design, developing, and writing copy for your website. Sometimes we spend so much time developing and creating for the minority of our users (the exceptions) that we forget about the majority of our users.

Ok, so I’m a little late with these

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

I’ve been preaching about website goals and I have yet to write down any goals for this blog. Shame on me!

To follow my own rule: I have a website. I have something to say. I need goals, gosh darn it!

Goal 1 (personal). To learn. Learn more about web analytics. Learn more about higher education. Learn more about how web analytics can live (and be happy!) within higher education. Writing meaty blog posts forces me not only to get back to basics, but to dive in and read and research. It’s a re-education (or just a plain education)! I love it!

Usability and analytics – a match made in heaven

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Usability tests are awesome. They really are. So many actionable insights can be drawn from a good usability test. Usually you don’t need more than five testers to get some good data. It’s such a strong message when the powers-that-be are confronted with video after video of users struggling to complete their website goal. It makes you sad, makes you laugh, and gives you a smile on your face all at the same time.

But after the usability test, how can you know if your new redesign, restructure, re[whatever] is successful? I know you know the answer! : )

Are you a skeptic? Come on, I know you are!

Monday, August 4th, 2008

One thing this blog is making me do is really get back to basics, which is great. So what is web analytics and why might website owners not embrace it? The  Wikipedia entry has a technical definition, but it’s really just studying the behavior of your website visitors. That sounds simple, but there is so much involved in studying behavior and *why* we should study behavior. We’ll talk about the skeptics a little later.

When I began getting involved in analytics back in 2001, the company I worked for used WebTrends as their analytics package. Back then we used log analyzer (which, like the name suggests, analyzes log files). I can still remember sitting at my desk doing other work for 2 hours (depending upon the date range) while waiting for a report to run. Those were the good ol’ days … or … not.

Why do I need analytics? I’m not a marketer!

Friday, August 1st, 2008

When it comes to websites, everyone is a marketer. Every website is selling *something* – whether it’s a widget, a subscription, a journal article, a blog post, a helpdesk ticket, or an engineering degree. Money may not exchange hands, but if you want a user to  do *anything* on your website, you’re selling something. So who is your target audience and what do you want them to do? That’s your goal! Analytics can tell you if you’re achieving that goal.

Let the Posts Begin

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Today Cole Camplese announced his goal of writing one post per day (weekdays only) for the entire month of August. What a great challenge! Consider me on board!

Since first impressions are always the most important (especially on the web!), and since this is a new blog, it’s a perfect time to truly think about content and try to get some good conversations started.

Discussion themes for August? Let’s see …